SWARM | VOLTA NYC: a solo presentation of works by Ashley Norwood Cooper at VOLTA NYC 2023
"I, too, am caught in the swarm. I have had to learn to let go of trying to understand things--my children, my country, even my own art. The world around me is swarming and my interior world is abuzz, also.
I am just another bee.
It started, perhaps, with “Picnic at Sunset,” a painting about a mother’s worry.
I remembered that my son, when he was very young, was scared of butterflies and I wanted to paint scary butterflies. After that my paintings began to fill with bees, snakes, brambles, birds, and ghost rabbits.
I have always been inspired by poetry and, recently, have been particularly interested in Virgil’s Georgic IV and Sylvia Plath’s bee poems. Virgil’s bees are, among other things, a metaphor for the Roman Civil War. Plath sensed in the dying queen a reflection of something more private, a symbol of both her creative power and her mortality.
Painting, for me, is about color, story, and materiality.
I’m fluttering back and forth between the abstraction and the narrative, looking for something sweet."
-Ashley Norwood Cooper